I tend to dream frequently. I often find my dreams so bizarre that they are funny and entertaining to me.
I’m not curious about what they might mean, but I am curious as to why it is so difficult to remember most of them for more than just a few minutes after waking up. Occasionally I can remember one throughout the day; but most seem to vanish from my memory by the time I finish my morning shower.
I’m also interested in knowing how long a typical dream lasts? Some seem to last for hours, but I’ve heard that they really only last a few seconds. I find that really hard to imagine.
David in Tennessee
We each dream every night, so I’m not surprised to hear you say that you dream often. Those who say they don’t dream, or dream only now and then, most likely aren’t remembering their nightly journeys. In fact, some research suggests that if a person is deprived of his REM sleep, some of that peculiar dream-like behavior or perception can spill into his waking life!
I agree with you! Dreams can seem so bizarre that they are entertaining and funny. Our dreams’ composite images and unusual juxtaposition of elements make them intriguing and irresistible. No wonder dreams have captivated mankind for millennia! There’s value in nighttime entertainment!
Regarding forgetting your dreams so quickly, dream researchers say that during REM sleep, we experience a sort of paralysis ~ our muscles are locked. Some suggest we retain muscle memory of a dream’s content. So, when we wake and begin to stir, we start a process that can help erase those tenuously stored memories.
One strategy for holding onto your evening’s comedy show is to lie still for a few moments when you first wake. It’s a little more difficult than you might think to resist the urge to stretch and reposition yourself! But close your eyes again and hold your thoughts of the upcoming day at a distance. Take just a moment to review the memories of your dreams before you begin the process of re-entering your waking world.
Of course, if you were to jot down even a phrase or two, you’d encourage your Dreaming Self to hang with you a little longer.
Regarding the length of a ‘typical’ dream, it’s harder to say, but the REM cycle is part of a cycle of sleep that lasts roughly 90 minutes. So, while a dream may seem to last for hours, it’s likely that our dreams’ defiance of the laws of physics and time, along with their wholly engrossing nature, create that sensation.
You might enjoy exploring the world of lucid dreams. Current research and discussion of lucid dreaming by Robert Waggoner in his book Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self; and Stephen La Berge’s body of work offer the history and how-to’s of this fascinating element of dreaming.
Sweet Dreams to You, Dear Dreamer!